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"World Health Minute" 16 March, 2017

News Highlights
Cholera kills 80 in Zamfara in 1 month The Zamfara health commissioner said ‘no fewer than 80 people had been killed by a cholera outbreak in the state during the last month,’ adding that ‘around 500 people were currently receiving treatment at various health facilities across the state’
China`s confirms sixth bird flu outbreak at duck farm in Hubei province China confirmed a bird flu outbreak, the sixth case in China since last October, at a duck farm in central Hubei province, according to a Ministry of Agriculture statement. The H7N9 strain of the virus has caused 161 deaths in China since last October. There were 61 fatalities and 160 cases of human infection from H7H9 bird flu up to February, a government spokesperson added
66 schools in Kinniya closed over the dengue outbreak In Sri Lanka, 66 schools in the Kinniya area have been temporarily closed for three days by health authorities, due to a dengue threat. Twelve school children died after contracting dengue while a further 37 are undergoing more treatment. Across Sri Lanka there has been a significant rise in the number of dengue cases reported during the first ten weeks of 2017, with the number exceeding 20,000
Preparedness, surveillance and response
China`s confirms sixth bird flu outbreak at duck farm in Hubei province
China confirmed a bird flu outbreak, the sixth case in China since last October, at a duck farm in central Hubei province, according to a Ministry of Agriculture statement. The H7N9 strain of the virus has caused 161 deaths in China since last October. There were 61 fatalities and 160 cases of human infection from H7H9 bird flu up to February, a government spokesperson added
Cholera kills 80 in Zamfara in 1 month
The Zamfara health commissioner said ‘no fewer than 80 people had been killed by a cholera outbreak in the state during the last month,’ adding that ‘around 500 people were currently receiving treatment at various health facilities across the state’
The Botswana Health ministry said ‘the country is experiencing a high level of malaria transmission following recent heavy rains.
The Botswana Health ministry said ‘the country is experiencing a high level of malaria transmission following recent heavy rains. There has been an increase in the number of malaria cases in areas such as Okavango, Ngami and Gantsi’
Mozambique cholera outbreak spreading, more than 1,200 infected
‘A cholera outbreak in parts of Mozambique has infected more than 1,200 people, killing two this month, since the recent heavy rains, and the disease will spread further if no action is taken,’ health ministry officials said
Autoridades de salud advierten de aumento de malaria en Nicaragua
In Nicaragua, heath authorities (MINSA) are warning about an increase in malaria cases across the country. To date, there have been 1,200 malaria cases being reported at a rate of about 17 per day. During the last week, there were 112 new cases, bringing the total up 1200. This is a 21.7% increase on cases reported at the same time last year
Nepal reports severe H5N8 bird flu on farm - OIE
Nepal reported an outbreak of severe H5N8 bird flu on a poultry farm in the Koshi region OIE said, citing a report from Nepalese authorities. The virus killed 3,650 of the hens exposed, with the remaining animals culled. There was an earlier Nepalese outbreak of H5N1 last month, previously reported
Rio Preto ultrapassa os 100 casos positivos de dengue em 2017
In Brazil, the Rio Preto Health Department reported that two serious diseases are worrying health officials: dengue fever and leishmaniasis. This year alone authorities have seen 100 confirmed cases of dengue and a further 308 are under investigation. There have been five dogs diagnosed with leishmaniasis so far and no humans. Officials speculate that mosquitoes may be breeding in closed houses or those up for sale or lease
Bird flu expands in Vietnam, striking 2 more provinces
Strains of bird flu have been detected in a chicken breeder flock in the northern province of Bac Ninh and the birds are to be culled, to prevent the virus from entering the food chain
Burundi declares malaria epidemic
Burundi’s Health Minister said ‘more than 3,700 people have died since the end of 2016. There has been a 13% increase in cases related to malaria. The situation is further compounded by climate change and prolonged drought leading to people going without food.’ Deutsche Welle also added that malaria has increased in Rwanda, with nearly 700,000 cases nationwide registered up to last November
Malawi: Cholera Hits Malawi in Areas Close to Mozambique - Ministry of Health
The Ministry of Health said ‘it has received reports of a cholera outbreak in Mozambican communities neighbouring Malaw’ in places such as as Moatize in Tete, which is popular for cross border shopping and business’
In Africa, Scientists Are Preparing to Use Gene Drives to End Malaria
In Burkina Faso, Mali and Uganda the groundwork is being laid for a powerful kind of experiment. A project is underway to release mosquitoes that have been genetically programmed to drive themselves and their malaria-producing brethren towards extinction
Kelantan declares `state disaster` as H5N1 outbreak spreads
The H5N1 avian flu outbreak in Kelantan has spread to two more districts, Pasir Putih and Bachok besides Kota Baru and Pasir Mas, the new villages affected are in Bachok. The media said ‘this is the first avian influenza outbreak in ten years,’ with some speculating ‘ it may have spread via illegal cock fighting’
Polio`s last stand: frantic effort to eradicate Pakistan`s `badge of shame`
Polio`s last stand: frantic effort to eradicate Pakistan`s `badge of shame` the Guardian investigates
More than 7,000 cases of malaria have been reported in northern regions of Namibia
More than 7,000 cases of malaria have been reported in northern regions of Namibia, so far this year. The Kavango, Zambesi and Ohangwena regions are most affected
Investigation ordered into polio case in GB
The Express Tribune Pakistan reported that a toddler in Gilgit-Baltistan who contracted polio, had received at least two routine doses of the vaccine prior to doing so, according to medical experts and the patient’s family. An investigation is underway as there ‘may have been some mishandling of the vaccine during transportation’ experts speculated 
Rivers Has Estimated 23,199 Tuberculosis Cases – Director
Rivers State had an estimated 23,199 cases of tuberculosis during 2015, according to health authorities. In that year ,no more than about 10% of all of these cases were detected officially, meaning there are huge numbers of cases hidden in communities. The main concerns held by health experts are; low community awareness of the disease, non-adherence to treatment leading to drug resistance and the poor approach of some health workers tasked with TB control
Tuberculosis rising in Davao Region
The DOH-Davao region in the Philippines say they have seen a sharp rise in tuberculosis cases in the area and this is worrying the health department. Around 100 people died from TB last year, with Davao City posting the most cases. The official incomplete data for 2016 is already showing 12,000 cases and health authorities said they were intensifying their information programme to avoid the disease being driven underground
66 schools in Kinniya closed over the dengue outbreak
In Sri Lanka, 66 schools in the Kinniya area have been temporarily closed for three days by health authorities, due to a dengue threat. Twelve school children died after contracting dengue while a further 37 are undergoing more treatment. Across Sri Lanka there has been a significant rise in the number of dengue cases reported during the first ten weeks of 2017, with the number exceeding 20,000
Health systems
Kenya doctors end three-month strike after deal with government
Kenyan doctors ended a three-month public hospital strike on Tuesday, after reaching agreement on pay and working conditions. This has ended the standoff which threatened to embarrass the government before August’s elections 
New UK drug cost rules leave companies fuming
A new UK drug funding formula which is set to come in on April 1st means that new drugs costing the NHS more than £20m a year will no longer be automatically funded, even if they are cost effective. Instead, companies will have to enter into negotiations to justify their use and work out funding. Drug companies suggests this will break a Conservative Party manifesto commitment ‘to speed the flow of new medicines.’
Trump Health Plan Helps Young Middle Class at Cost of Old, Poor: CBO
A Congress Budget Office report said ‘among the biggest beneficiaries of President Trump’s healthcare overhaul would be young, middle-class Americans. People over 50 and lower-income people would be hardest hit’
Republican plan to repeal Obamacare would leave millions uninsured, according to a new report
Republican plan to repeal Obamacare would leave millions uninsured, according to a new report
Drug CEO Has Problem With U.S. Patients Paying His Prices
Novo Nordisk CEO said ‘too many diabetics are inadvertently getting stuck with a big bill, making it imperative that drug makers and middlemen at the heart of the country’s complex pricing system fix the issue before regulators step in’
Study shows healthcare in Syria now a target of war
Published to mark the sixth anniversary of the Syrian crisis, a new study used data from multiple sources to assess the conflict’s impact on healthcare and health workers. It found that a policy of ‘weaponisation’ of the healthcare system in Syria occurred, by which the people’s need for healthcare was used against them by denying them access
PREP can play significant role in HIV/Aids prevention
The Deputy Director of the Desmond Tutu Foundation said PREP ‘can play a significant role in terms of HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa.’ Becker added ‘adolescents and young women will in particular benefit from this new prevention scale-up method, particularly now that the world wants to prioritise primary prevention for women and young girls’
Former Drug Czar Says GOP Health Bill Would Cut Access To Addiction Treatment
Michael Botticelli, who served as President Obama’s National Drug Control Policy chief, said ‘he is concerned the proposed Republican health plan will reduce access to health services for people with addiction’
Syria sanctions indirectly hit children`s cancer treatment
Syrian child health specialists are struggling with a critical shortage of specialist drugs to treat their young patients. Local and WHO officials blame western sanctions for severely restricting pharmaceutical imports, even though medical supplies are largely exempt from measures imposed. The result is tumbling life expectancy and soaring deaths in pregnancy and childbirth
UNICEF said a lack of early testing for HIV, and widespread stigma, leaves fourth-fifths of children with the virus in West and Central Africa
UNICEF said a lack of early testing for HIV, and widespread stigma, leaves fourth-fifths of children with the virus in West and Central Africa without life-saving drugs, which in turn means tens of thousands could die within years 
Many at risk for stroke don’t get anti-clotting drugs
More than four in five stroke patients with a history of heart rhythm problems did not get any blood thinners, or did not take enough to help prevent a stroke before they had one, a U.S. study suggests
Communicable diseases
Studies show why desk jobs are bad for heart, waist
A new study, led by Dr William Tigbe, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, provides further evidence that spending too much time sitting down is bad for your health and waistline. The study found that workers who have a desk-bound job have bigger waistlines and an increased risk of heart disease
Govt works out draft indicators to measure progress on SDGs
The Indian government is working on indicators designed to measure the country’s progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are aimed at improving the global economic, social and environmental situation
Healthier diets could slow climate change via lower medical costs - Study
Research accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, caused by healthcare system, show that healthier diets could have an even greater effect on climate change than previously thought. Researchers from the University of California and Oxford University conducted the first ever such study, combining both the potential decrease in emissions from altered food production and from the decreased medical care required for dietary related diseases
Cleaner air could save three million early deaths in China each year: study
China could prevent three million premature deaths a year if it enforced tighter air quality standards, in accordance with United Nations guidelines, according to a study published in The British Medical
Indian leather workers risk health, life to make shoes for global market: report
About 2.5m Indian workers work long hours with toxic chemicals for poverty wages in the country’s leather industry, making shoes and clothes for Western brands, a study has found
Why Garbage Dumps Are so Dangerous
Open dumps for rubbish and waste in the developing world, such as the one in Ethiopia, where many tragic deaths recently occurred, are also hazards which can cause water pollution, loss of biodiversity, increased greenhouse gas emissions and the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria. Accidents like the one in Addis Ababa only go to highlight this pressing danger even more
Doctors warn climate change is harming our health
U.S. doctors’ groups have set up a new organization called The Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health with half of all U.S. doctors as members. The new group is presenting a report to Congress with scientific evidence showing how climate change is harming our collective health. The group is also calling on policymakers to act decisively
Non communicable diseases
Depression doubles long-term risk of death after heart disease diagnosis, new study findsam
Depression is the strongest predicator of death in the first decade following a diagnosis of coronary heart disease, according to a new study by researchers
Experts Say Chronic Kidney Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa on Rise
Amid rapid urbanization, the HIV epidemic and increasing rates on NCDs people in sub-Saharan Africa are especially vulnerable to kidney disease. With CKD on the rise across the continent many are liable to die each year simply due to lack of access to affordable treatment
Betting on the first disease to be treated by gene editing
Anticipating when CRISPR gene editing technology could be used to develop a cure for a myriad of possible diseases is difficult to assess. There are not only technical hurdles, but also ethical ones – such as gene editing in embryos to prevent diseases such as Huntington’s and Tay-Sachs. Even so, the race is on CNBC reports
Cancer Drug That Might Slow Parkinson`s, Alzheimer`s Headed For Bigger Tests
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center are launching two larger and more rigorous trials of nilotinib, both designed with input from the Food & Drug Administration. One of the trials will enrol 75 patients with Parkinson’s Disease and the other will enrol 42 patients with Alzheimer’s. The hope is to find a single drug which can treat two devastating brain diseases
Indonesia tobacco bill would fire up output despite health fears
Indonesia’s parliament has proposed a draft law that could lead to a sharp increase in tobacco output, in a country which is already a top producer with one of the heaviest rates of smoking in the world. Health Minister, Nila Moeloek, said ‘her ministry definitely opposes the tobacco bill as it has the responsibility to safeguard the health of the people’
Higher rate of second heart attacks in patients who can`t tolerate statins
In a study of more than 105,000 older Americans, who had one heart attack, those who could not tolerate statins were 50% more likely, than those who stayed on statins, to have a second heart attack
The GOP health plan may disrupt mental health care for those who need it the most
The GOP health care plan may disrupt mental health care for those who need it the most, because the U.S. States would then have to decide whether to cover the mental health costs for Medicaid recipients or not
Pfizer launches new antibiotic in the UK
Pfizer is launching a new antibiotic called Zavicefta in the UK. It is designed to treat serious aerobic Gram-negative infections caused by resistant bacteria 
Sudden drops in BP may increase dementia risk
New research suggests that those who experience sudden blood pressure drop in middle age may be more likely to develop dementia in old age. This new study followed 11,503 patients who had no history of heart disease across two decades and saw that those who suffered from orthostatic hypotension in middle age were 40% more likely to develop dementia than those who did not. The team now speculate that the decrease in blood flow to the brain may play a pivotal role
Tackling NCDs in Bhutan requires a different kind of aid
The government of Bhutan is deeply concerned about the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in the country and it is pondering measures to curb excess alcohol consumption, to increase servings of fruit and vegetables and to cut down on salt consumption. In 2015, Bhutan reported NCDs were the top causes of mortality in Bhutan, with liver disease associated with alcohol consumption topping the list
Promoting health through the life course
Placenta more vulnerable to Zika in early pregnancy
A new study has found that the placenta is much more vulnerable to Zika infection in the first trimester of pregnancy and this explains why the congenital damage caused by the virus is more serious in the early stages of a child’s parental development. Researchers also found that the Zika strain in Africa is more virulent than the Asian strain. The African strain multiplies faster than the Asian strain, destroying placental cells and compromising gestation
Women with failed fertility treatments increase their risk of heart disease, Canadian study warns
A new Canadian study is warning that women who undergo fertility treatment, but don’t get pregnant, increase their risk of developing long-term heart disease. The study’s authors say ‘failed fertility therapies boost women’s risk of heart disease by 19% when compared to their peers whose treatment was successful’
Study finds new class of androgens play key role in polycystic ovary syndrome
Scientists led by the University of Birmingham have discovered a new class of male sex hormones, known as androgens, which play a key role in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a common condition which can lead to irregular periods, polycystic ovaries and high levels of androgens which sometimes manifest themselves in physical signs such as excess facial or body hair
Glaxo to Pay First Woman CEO Less, Cites Lack of Experience
Emma Walmsley, who is poised to take over as the first female CEO at GlaxoSmithKline Plc, will earn a quarter less than her predecessor, ‘to reflect her lack of experience at the helm.’ This lower compensation for a woman, who is breaking the gender barrier to become one of the first females to manage a top 25 pharmaceutical company, is likely to reignite the debate on the pay gap between the sexes, according to Bloomberg
Are some breast cancer patients getting too much radiation?
More than half of older American women with early breast cancer may be getting more radiation therapy than needed, which significantly boosts medical costs, a new study indicates
Why have four children when you could have seven? Family planning in Niger
With the world’s highest birth rate, Niger’s population is set to double in 17 years. NGOs are providing contraception but what if women in society don’t mind having more children? 
Girls `too poor` to buy sanitary protection missing school
Some girls in the UK are too poor to buy sanitary protection and are missing school. Now a charity that provides sanitary protection to women in Kenya is now doing the same for girls in West Yorkshire
Millions of Women Don’t Have Access to Fertility Treatments in the U.S.
According to a new report, whether or not a woman in the USA has access to clinics that offer fertility services depends on where she lives. The authors of the study found that about 40% of women of reproductive age have limited or no access to ART clinics